ROSEPINE – Coming off the best regular season in school history, Rosepine will need new faces to step into different roles to keep the Eagles' momentum going.
Rosepine needs to replace key players at skill positions and fill in spots on defense to make an impact in district play.
"We lost a good group of seniors, and in their two years, they built a tradition here," head coach Brad Ducote said. "These younger kids are expected to compete and win. They know the expectations. Their leadership was good, and this group of seniors has big shoes to fill. So far, they're doing it."
The Eagles offense leaned on the duo of quarterback Seth Ducote and running back Seth Shirley last season, combining for 2,745 rushing yards.
"It's a competition out here, and we have a lot of young talent," Ducote said. "It's not a #WaitYourTurn world. With that being said, the younger kids may be on the field no matter what their classification is. We are going to have the better kids out. If a freshman is out there, he's not getting beat up on; he's fighting for a spot."
Rosepine plans to spread out the ball more this season, getting new players involved in the offense. One of those new players is quarterback Ethan Frey.
"He's a 6-foot-4 kid with a world of talent," Ducote said. "We're ready to see what he will do on Friday nights. He throws the ball well and sees the field well. We're excited to see what he can do. He's not the runner Seth (Ducote) was, but I think he can make up a lot of that with his arm."
Braden Nolen will start at running back, and Chance Sissom is slotted to be the fullback. Each of them received playing time last season.
The offensive line will be anchored by tackle Wesley Willis, who starting his fifth season.
"I remember my first three years getting beat by everybody, but the last two years, something switched and it's been going great," he said. "When you lose that many years, it makes you appreciate the winning. You know how to win and how to lose. It helps a lot.
"I went to 13 different football camps. The most I improved was at the Nicholls football camp. That helped me the most. It took me to another level and helped me a lot."
Joining Willis on the line is Gavin Fuselier – a three-year starter.
Scott Wisby will spearhead the defense, following back-to-back All-District seasons. The senior moves from linebacker back to defensive line – his previous position.
"I like it a lot better because it's where I've played my whole life," Wisby said. "It's just more home to me.
"We have a lot of good younger players stepping, and hopefully, I can help them out."
The defense returns junior safety Caden Stephens and will have Garrett Mayfield and Josh Cummings at defensive backs spots, as well as wide receiver.
With East Beauregard moving to Class 1A, the Kinder Yellowjackets jump into District 5 after battling Notre Dame and Welsh the past few seasons.
"I would have to give the edge to Kinder right now, and there isn't much that separates the rest of us," Ducote said. "Right now, we'll compete with anybody. We'll compete with everyone in district and out of district."
The Eagle lose 12 starters from the previous season, but Ducote hopes the leadership from the new upperclassmen can make an impact.
"When I got thrown into the job last year, I didn't have to say anything to the seniors," Ducote said. "They accepted it as a challenge and took over on their end. These seniors have picked it up, maybe not to magnitude those guys did, but they are getting there. I have to have them leading these younger kids."